4 Negative Consequences of Teaching Kids that Santa Claus is Real

This is probably not going to be my most popular post. But let me say that I am not against celebrating the Christmas season with gifts, and food, and sparkle and lights; with snowmen, and eggnog, and parties and cheer. I am not even opposed to Santa Claus, and elves, and reindeer.

I know Jesus is the reason for the season, but in our culture the season also comes with all these forms of fun and excitement. However, there is one aspect that saddens me greatly—teaching children that the Santa Claus fantasy is real. Now, I am not trying to be judgmental—this is only my personal opinion—but I think telling children that Santa is real can lead to several significant negative consequences.

I know this might be touchy, but please remember I am not judging, or dictating to, anyone; I’m just suggesting some negative consequences of telling children that Santa is real.

And here they are…

santa-with-kids-wikimedia-commons

By Bailiwick Studios from Rockford, MI (_C130063.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

1. A Breach of Trust in the Parents’ Truthfulness

We never taught our son that Santa was real, but we did enjoy the Santa fantasy; we sang the Santa songs, had prominent Santa decorations, and one year when he was very young I dressed up in a Santa suit for him. Both he and we had great fun with Santa. I don’t think he missed anything by being aware that Santa wasn’t real.

However, one year (about second or third grade) he suddenly became very excited about Santa coming on Christmas eve to bring him presents. We were surprised but went along with it. We didn’t confirm the reality of Santa, but we cooperated with his excitement and on Christmas he had presents from ‘Santa’ just like he had received presents from us on previous years. He was so excited!

But the next year, he was back to normal. He never needed Santa to be real again. I am not sure if he really thought Santa was real that year or if he was playing out an exciting pretend fantasy.

On the other hand, my own extended family went to great lengths to perpetrate the reality of Santa. One day we heard Dad talking to ‘Santa’ at the door, ‘They’re not asleep yet, Santa, so you can come back later if you have the time.’ On another occasion, after I learned the truth, we heard Santa (my Uncle) outside ordering off his reindeer: ‘On Prancer, on Rudolf…’ And the kids were excited.

I believed my parents when they told me Santa was real because I trusted them and believed anything they told me—because they said it was true. So I felt betrayed when they finally told me otherwise. It was a breach of my trust in our partnership of truthfulness.

2. Embarrassment and Bullying of Children by Peers at School

As I got older, Santa-believers my age were picked on and made fun of by other kids. They never came after me because I was not vocal about my Santa beliefs, but they subjected other kids like me to ridicule BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED THEIR PARENTS. And I could not speak up, as I was in the same position—even when I began to have doubts.

  • Why are there numerous Santas in the stores?
  •  How can Santa travel to all children in a single night?
  •  How can Santa eat all those milk and cookies?

I believed what my parents told me.

3. Throwing Out God with Santa

The idea is, I guess, that believing in Santa is something we just grow out of. But how does that work any differently than with what parents tell us about God; are we to grow out of that too? If parents tell us Santa is real, and he is not, then why not assume that God isn’t real either? A friend at school demonstrated this very clearly. He said, ‘God isn’t real; he is just like Santa Claus’–which isn’t a bad comparison, actually.

God knows when we are sleeping or awake. God rewards us for being good and punishes us for being bad. This God is very much like Santa Claus, and the parallels lead to misguided views of God that often follow even into adulthood.

4. Being Manipulated by Parents to More Easily Control Behavior

Often, parents use Santa (and God) to manipulate children into doing what the parents want by causing them to behave in certain ways to earn rewards or avoid punishment. Aren’t the packages under the tree on Christmas morning GIFTS? Don’t we want to give gifts freely to our children? I think incentives are sometimes good—but isn’t Christmas about actually giving? And not rewarding?

Again, this parallels and reinforces the harmful belief in a God of reward and punishment, with the goal of our behavior being to get to heaven (reward) and avoid eternal hell (punishment). The concept is far too transferable from Santa Claus to God, and neither should be used to manipulate a child’s behavior to receive rewards (presents/heaven) or avoid punishment (no favorite presents/hell).

My Conclusion Might not be Your Conclusion

I am not opposed to the fantasy of Santa Claus. It is a lot of fun! But it is still fun without the deceit. We never told our son that Santa was real; yet he, too, was excited about Christmas every year. It is nice to imagine such a fantasy as Santa Claus, as well as the fantasies of many other childhood books and stories. My son absolutely loved Reepicheep in the Chronicles of Narnia, but he knew it was only a story—a fantasy. It was only pretend.

Parents should decide what they want to tell their children about Santa. But I think telling them a falsehood can have very negative consequences.

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108 Responses to 4 Negative Consequences of Teaching Kids that Santa Claus is Real

  1. LorenHaas says:

    I also have seen this happen with the stores in Genesis. I hope this does not traumatized anyone, but there was no worldwide flood 5000 years ago. I took part in an adult bible study a few years ago where we studied Peter Enns book, “Genesis for Normal People”. The conclusion is that it was mythology derived from other ancient near eastern cultures, but adapted by Hebrew writers. We had a young teenage girl in the group who was being home schooled because of illness. She addressed our pastor and said, “Why did you and your wife teach us Noah about and the ark in Sunday school if it was not true?” Thud!
    His response was that we can understand this story differently depending on our level of maturity. I don’t think she was satisfied by that answer that time. I have always wondered what long term effect this incident had on her spiritual development.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Loren, if I were that girl I don’t think I would have been happy with the pastor’s answer on Genesis either. And these things can have long-term effects. By the way, Pete Enns is one of my favorite authors!

      Like

    • Chas says:

      While I agree that Noah’s worldwide flood did not occur, the story might have its origin in a folk memory of a large rise in the level of the Black Sea at the end of the Ice Age. If so, the Noah story is just another Old Testament example of people trying to make sense of what they were seeing or experiencing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When our kids asked, we used to tell them that Santa was ‘story-real’ as opposed to ‘real real’. I really enjoyed playing along with the Santa game/fantasy, but I think you’re right that it’s important that it’s make-believe, not real-believe.

    I think most kids (above the age of maybe 3 or 4) are pretty sophisticated in understanding the subtle difference between a magical fantasy world and the real one, and can hugely enjoy ‘make-believing’ the fantasy while knowing at another level it isn’t truly real.

    That said, when I was a child I did strongly believe in Santa Claus (to the extent that I was convinced I’d heard his sleigh bells one Christmas Eve!). But I didn’t lose my belief in God when I discovered that Santa wasn’t real. I think I’d always somehow known that the two were on a different level, or were a different kind of thing which required a different kind of belief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Harvey, I didn’t lose my belief in God due to the Santa myth either, but I think it is still and issue. I like you statement: “we used to tell them that Santa was ‘story-real’ as opposed to ‘real real’.” Well put.

      I very much agree with you that even young children understand “the subtle difference between a magical fantasy world and the real one, and can hugely enjoy ‘make-believing’ the fantasy while knowing at another level it isn’t truly real.” And I think this is good. My problem is in perpetrating actual deceit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chas says:

        I recall my Dad telling me about his childhood: after he and my uncle had realized that Father Christmas (as he was then known, rather than Santa Claus) was not real, they carefully did not admit this to my grandparents, on the basis that, if this was the means to receive presents, then it was to their advantage to continue with the deception.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. tonycutty says:

    When my eldest son was about 3 1/2 yrs old, it was the time of ‘Operation Desert Shield’ in 1991. We told him Santa had been shot down over Iraq by a SAM homing onto Rudolf’s nose.

    He knew we were kidding.

    We told our sons (who are now 29 and 27) that Santa wasn’t real but that they weren’t to tell other kids that (spoiler) fact. My boys have suffered no ill effects from not believing in Santa; they managed to just enjoy the story and the fun etc. My youngest son now tells his two young ‘uns that Santa exists, but his daughter is nearly seven and really switched on; it’s only a matter of time before she rumbles it. Our daughter, on the other hand, who came along nine years after our youngest son, believed in Santa right up to the point where she sussed it out for herself that it was us who were leaving the presents for her. Same with the Tooth Fairy; she worked out that the notes were being done in Lucida Calligraphy font on our printer. She’s suffered no ill effects and treats the whole thing as a bit of a joke. In fact I think she was pleased to have had a harmless ‘adults’ secret’ that she was now privy to, above her classmates.

    But this all pales into insignificance compared to this jerk who publicly tells children the Truth that there is no Santa in a mall.

    And anyway it’s Star Wars that is the reason for the season, y’know… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, we all know that ‘Santa’ is an anagram of ‘Satan’ 😉

      Alternatively, teach your kids the sad truth about Santa with Weird Al Yankovic’s awesome “The Night Santa Went Crazy”:

      Liked by 2 people

    • Perry says:

      Can’t help feeling pity for this alleged evangelist, David Grisham. The fact he shot video of himself reveals a poor soul desperate for attention and relevance. Just the opposite of “…learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tony, I really like this: “We told our sons (who are now 29 and 27) that Santa wasn’t real but that they weren’t to tell other kids that (spoiler) fact.” I don’t think kids in the know should spoil it for other kids or tease them for believing in Santa.

      And I think the preacher in the mall is acting very inappropriately. He has no business getting into the business of other families. What a poor representative of Jesus and the church.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonycutty says:

        That’s what I was thinking. Also what Perry said. It’s like he’s hurting others out of his own hurt. I wonder if he’ll one day be bottom-clenchingly embarrassed about it? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Charlotte Robertson says:

    I come from The Netherlands, or Holland, as is maybe a more familiar name. Santa is getting more known there, but I don’t think anyone takes him seriously. The Dutch tradition is the coming of Saint Nicolas or Sinterklaas , who hands out presents on the eve of the 6th of December. I remember firmly believing in him, until my father told me the truth when I was 8. Instead of feeling cheated, I was delighted to belong to the ones in the know. I never expected my children, born in the U.K., to believe in anyone so ridiculous as Santa. At least Sinterklaas was a ‘real’ bishop, dressed in bishop gear, mitred hat, staff, ring and all. Also, the feast being on December 5, it kept the shopping hype away from Christmas. This is now changing. People want both Sinterklaas and Santa, it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Charlotte, thanks for letting us know about things in The Netherlands. I think it is very interesting.

      Like

    • Chas says:

      From a book that I read recently, it seems that, like many other things good and bad, we in UK gained Santa Claus from USA, where the Sinterklass tradition had been introduced from Netherlands. The same book also identified other untruths that originated in USA. It was written by Bill Bryson.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anthony Paul says:

    I feel that this is a personal issue best handled by parents on an individual level based on the age and maturity level of each child. But IMHO we often tend to over-think the whole issue due to questions about total honesty and trust issues developing later on in life. Speaking from my personal experience with my own children and now grandchildren, I think it’s important for a young child to learn about the joy of the magic and wonder of things unseen yet felt, often with great anticipation and excitement. I believe that this experience far outweighs the possibility that once the child discovers the truth about the Santa myth as he surly will, that this will lead to significant issues of trust later in life. I have never heard nor have I read anywhere of adults who grew into avowed atheists because of the Santa myth. Again on a personal level… growing up in my parents home was often a very harsh experience due to issues of physical abuse, anger, and hostility… but one of my fondest memories was waiting for Santa Clause on Christmas Eve; and I will be forever grateful for the joy and happiness which that illusion brought me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Anthony, first of all I agree with you that this is a personal issue to be handled by parents. I am not judging; I am only sharing an opinion. And I am certainly not interested in telling children Santa isn’t real (other than my own).

      I also think you are on target in saying that children should enjoy the joy of magic and wonder. We did that too, but without deceit. Not everyone will experience these negative consequences, but as for me and my house…

      Like

  6. Karen H says:

    I have 3 children who are now adults. Our household always emphasized the “Christ” in Christmas and the creche was as prominent as any Santa decoration. But in their early years, my husband and I did talk about Santa as if he was real. My oldest and my youngest thought it was a delightful game when they figured out Santa wasn’t real. However, my middle child, a quiet deep thinker who’s asked big questions since he was 4 years old, felt very betrayed when he figured out Santa wasn’t real. I remember his tearful confrontation, “you LIED to me” very well with a heavy heart. My explanations about there being a truth to the “Spirit of Christmas”, wanting to extend the magic of Christmas, etc. didn’t go over with him at all. I think for him this was all the more devastating because in every other way, we had a very honest, transparent household. It really shook him. He has grown up to be a person who trusts facts and what he can see for himself, which includes that he is now an atheist. So I agree with Tim unintended consequences of having once thought Santa was real can be questioning whether God is real and a deep undermining of trust in authority. Our whole culture lies about Santa. (In my childhood, even the newscasters mentioned his course on Christmas Eve, and this was very impressive to me in convincing me, but later did make me wonder about what else adults said that wasn’t true).

    I think another problem with Santa is that magic/deception gets confused with mystery/myths and then people become very uncomfortable with accepting mysteries or understanding the difference. I myself had to go through a phase when I struggled with “why do bad things happen to good people” (including me) to confront my subconscious belief that if I’d been a “good girl” why was I finding “coal” in my life’s stocking. Santa as God is not who Jesus taught (God is far more merciful, and those who follow the rules may find themselves “last” not “first”) nor does a living good life necessarily guarantee good outcomes. If I had it to do over again, I would have presented Santa as a cultural game we play, not as something I would have presented as real. There is plenty of wondrous to celebrate in Christmas with the mysteries of angelic choirs appearing to shepherds, the holy Baby being born in the lowliest of circumstances, wise men following a Star, etc. Much to ponder and treasure in our hearts without Santa taking up room in the inn…

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Karen, of course all children respond differently; but I really identify with your son who “felt very betrayed when he figured out Santa wasn’t real. I remember his tearful confrontation, ‘you LIED to me’ very well with a heavy heart.” I did not confront my parents for lying to me, but I did feel very betrayed.

      I think a lot of people who think of God as giving us gifts are disillusioned with finding ‘coal’ in their life’s stocking as you were. Figuring out what God is like is difficult enough without confusing him with the myth of Santa.

      Like

  7. Marjorie Weiss says:

    We never told the Santa lie. Why? My sister-in-law said when she as a child found out he was not real she said, Then God is not real, either.” Wow! My younger brother was a true believer in Santa and as a fourth grader said at supper that his teacher has said that Santa was not real. “Is that true? is there no Santa?”

    My mother replied, “There is no Santa, It is the parents who give the gifts.” My brother bawled and bawled. He was so hurt, much like the son noted in an above comment. I will never forget the sad supper we had that night.

    Those two experiences encouraged me never to lie about Santa and my husband agreed. We put milk and cookies out for him, the girls sat in his lap, and we told them the truth that it was all fun. We also told them to never tell other children Santa was not real since that was up to their parents. When my younger daughter was an adult I asked her if she felt she missed out since we had not told the Santa lie. “Not at all. I thought it was neat that I knew something the others kids did not.”

    A brave post. thanks for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Marjorie, these are some great examples! And I am glad you asked your kids not to tell other kids about it and for the reason you give–that is up to the parents. I also like your daughter’s response about not missing out.

      Like

  8. Ruth Womack says:

    My bleary-eyed stressed out mum told me when I was just six years old that there was no Santa after I refused to leave the window till the small hours looking for Santa and his sleigh, swearing I was sure I could hear the jungle bells just around the corner. After this experience I didn’t go overboard with the Santa myth with my kids, telling them it was just a fun Christmas game. I think you are
    I think you are right and I wish you and all ther friends in the US A a Very Happy Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Ruth, I like it: “I didn’t go overboard with the Santa myth with my kids, telling them it was just a fun Christmas game.” We can have fun with Santa without deceiving the kids.

      Like

  9. Alan C says:

    We took a similar approach with our kids (who are now grown). Santa was spoken about with a bit of a wink-wink attitude. Our tradition still is that the stuff in the stockings is “from Santa,” but we always made it clear that the presents under the tree are from us. Our kids turned out pretty well-adjusted, if I may say so.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. SLIMJIM says:

    A good and needed post even if its unpopular with those who want to teach their kids that Santa is real.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Chas says:

    Tim, I value your post, because it causes us to consider how we might be losing children’s trust in us by misleading them, or telling them things that we know are not true. I have recounted on your blog before how my daughter realized that she had been lied to when she was told that her nose would grow like Pinocchio’s if she told a lie: she had lied before, but her nose had not grown. I am in agreement with you. I would not tell any child that Santa Claus existed, but neither would I tell a child that he did not, unless they asked me whether or not he exists. Like you, I understand that a child can experience pleasure from the anticipation of a visit from Santa Claus, so to deprive them of that pleasure would be a negative. I think that, generally, learning that they have been told a lie would not lead to a major loss of trust, but that cannot be discounted, particularly if the parent, or parents have made great play of the need for their child to trust what they tell them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Chas, I think your Pinocchio story is a good example of what NOT to do. Why do parents lie to their kids? I just don’t know. I like the way you said this, “I would not tell any child that Santa Claus existed, but neither would I tell a child that he did not, unless they asked me whether or not he exists.” I think it is a good balance.

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  12. fiddlrts says:

    Just my two cents here: I was raised by parents who went out of their way to tell us Santa wasn’t real, and openly worried we would lose our faith if they had “lied” to us. For my own kids, we never pushed the Santa thing, and they pretty well figured out that it was “story-real” as another commenter aptly put it.

    Thinking back as an adult, I have had a discouragingly high number of friends, family, and acquaintances who have left the faith, and I have never heard one cite Santa Claus as the reason. (That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, obviously.) But what I have heard over and over again was that it was the discovery of a different kind of lie that often did lead to a loss of faith.

    It isn’t the “lies” that the parents didn’t believe that were the problems, it was the lies that the parents devoutly believed that were.

    Lies like the literal truth of Genesis, the young earth, the subordination of women, the lie (which I heard too…) that all LGBTQ people were sexual predators, that atheists all knew there was a God, but they just wanted to have sex, that the Republican Party and its policies were good and the other side evil, and so on. In fact, these are the lies that have caused me the most doubt in my own faith. When what you were taught was absolutely true, non-negotiable, and that anyone who saw ANY of it differently did so only out of rebellion against God turns out to not match the actual facts, then you have a faith issue.

    So I don’t tend to worry too much about Santa – although as I said we don’t push it – I do worry that my kids will in the future be forced to choose participation in American Christianity or acknowledgement of objective reality, and that worries me. As “perceived theological needs” (to quote Peter Enns) are given priority over overwhelming evidence, it will be tempting to just reject the whole religion as a bunch of lies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Fiddlrts, you bring up a collection of ‘lies’ that parents (and ministers) pass along to children because they believe them themselves. This is so VERY true, and it is sad. Of course this issue of harmful beliefs is major theme on the blog. People suffer by being told false beliefs that the teller doesn’t even know are false.

      Perhaps they can’t be blamed for saying what they actually think is true, but it still has harmful results.

      Like

    • Marjorie Weiss says:

      Very well said. Thanks for it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Fiddlrts, I am interested to find out if you know the reason(s) for any of your friends etc., ceasing to believe/leaving their faith. I am beginning to suspect that this might be rather more widespread than we have thought. I started to wonder why all of the ‘revivals’ have just faded away after a short while. Do the people involved lose their faith, or do they just lose their fervor?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chas says:

        Why does no-one ever reply when I ask this question?

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I can’t speak for Fiddlrts, but I think his answer would be partly explained by his statement:

          “It isn’t the “lies” that the parents didn’t believe that were the problems, it was the lies that the parents devoutly believed that were. Lies like the literal truth of Genesis, the young earth, the subordination of women, the lie (which I heard too…) that all LGBTQ people were sexual predators, that atheists all knew there was a God, but they just wanted to have sex, that the Republican Party and its policies were good and the other side evil, and so on. In fact, these are the lies that have caused me the most doubt in my own faith. When what you were taught was absolutely true, non-negotiable, and that anyone who saw ANY of it differently did so only out of rebellion against God turns out to not match the actual facts, then you have a faith issue.”

          I would understand him to mean that people are taught to believe these misguided and harmful beliefs and to believe them as absolutely true and binding. Under these circumstances, once a person begins to think for themselves they begin to abandon the unsubstantiated claims. Unfortunately, in doing so some people abandon the Christian faith altogether.

          This goes beyond simply losing one’s fervor; it is a rejection of unsupportable indoctrination.

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          • Chas says:

            Tim, looking again at Fiddlrts’ original comment, I think you are right, it seems to be the discovery that something people’s faith was based on is really a lie that causes them to turn back from following God. This begs the question: if what they thought they had was really based on an untruth (untruth here being used here for something that is not true, but which people have believed was true)) had they actually been following God, or had they been following some untrue representation of God?

            This point is really important, because if someone’s belief is dependent only on the Bible, and we then show them that there are contradictions and errors in this, then we might be responsible for turning them away from their belief. Should our duty be to show the truth, or allow people to continue blindly in their error?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Good question, Chas. The approach I try to take is to talk about the errors of harmful religious baggage for those who are already questioning their beliefs, and I try not to impose by beliefs on them but let them evaluate my explanations for themselves.

            As I am sure you know, I certainly have no wish to convince others to my position; but presenting my views for their consideration might be able to help them discard harmful beliefs while giving them an alternative way to retain genuine faith. Otherwise they might abandon their true faith unnecessarily as they are convinced of the error of the baggage they were taught.

            I recognize the danger of taking away someone’s foundations before they are ready to think for themselves. This can be devastating. I try to never take away someone’s comfort without giving them something better in its place.

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          • Chas says:

            Tim, I think that your mention of their foundations is relevant, because the Bible contains the foundations of relationship with God through believing in Jesus as His Son; however, it also requires revelation through the Holy Spirit in order to reach this belief/relationship. It might be understood that both factors (Bible and Holy Spirit) are needed to bring us to the fullness of relationship with God, but once we have reached this state, the Bible is no longer needed, since the Holy Spirit can then guide us, if we are willing.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, I think the Bible is always needed. It is there that we witness Jesus’ teaching and example, and I think these are the things that guide us.

            Jesus is the proper foundation, but it is in the Bible that we encounter him.

            Like

  13. Christmas was created by the Church to distract the Pagans and other beliefs by celebrating the Birth of Christ. But with that being said, Christmas is what you make it and if you focus on those traditions and leave God out of it then you give those things power. But if you focus on the reason it was created to celebrate the Birth of Christ and pull attention away from the Traditions of man then we give power to Jesus where it belongs. My family celebrates Christmas as most do and we also realize that without Christ it is nothing but another day. My kids experienced Santa Clause and all that other Jazz and let me tell you they are super awesome kids who love the Lord and haven’t developed any negative effects as of yet. Please read this link to learn the true origins of Christmas and Christianity.

    https://daughterofthemostholy.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/christmas-and-christianity/

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Daughter, thanks for sharing your research on the history of Christmas. You include a lot of interesting detail!

      I do have questions, however, about your idea of fighting those who are opposed to a public Christian expressions of Christmas. If we allow nativity scenes on governmental property, we would also have to accommodate displays of other religions. And I have never heard of anyone telling us that we can’t say ‘Merry Christmas’. The United States is a nation; but it is not an exclusively ‘Christian’ nation. Our nation contains many religions.

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      • This country was founded on the principles of God and Freedom For Our Religion not freedom from religion. It has always been a Christian nation until the last couple of decades and until the last administration decided to go on attack mode and label us as a Hate group. This country has changed only because of those who are less educated and refuse to truly study the Word of God and uphold it as truth. These other “religions” or False doctrine as it truly is, have only been brave enough to come forward recently because of the great falling away that is taking place. Their displays have nothing to do with Christmas or the Birth of Christ, it is only meant to stir trouble up, just what the devil does best.

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Daughter, it sounds as though you are saying that the USA was founded on the principles of God and Freedom For Our Religion (Christianity) and not freedom from Christianity. If I understand you correctly, then I must disagree.

          The nation was founded on the then recent political theory of democracy. It is true that many of the founders had a Christian heritage, but a lot of them were Deist. They did not set up a nation to serve Christianity but a democracy of inclusion–even of other religions. I believe it was James Monroe who stated categorically that America was NOT a ‘Christian’ nation.

          Believers live in two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of government, and the two can never be the same. The principles of the kingdom of God taught by Jesus rejects the power and domination of the empire–“Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not!” ‘Christians’ Domination of others is completely antithetical to Jesus and his message. Whenever Christians have taken over a society and subjugated others, they have ceased to represent Jesus, the good news, and the kingdom of God.

          In addition, the government does not consider Christianity as a hate group, though some segments of Christianity are, in fact, hate groups. I am afraid the claim of persecution of Christians in America is a seriously faulty one. If you are interested, I talk about this here:

          https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/are-christians-persecuted-in-america/

          Liked by 2 people

          • Tim, I couldn’t agree more 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Chas says:

            Tim, your comment on the foundation being on democracy is interesting, as I have learnt that the reason for using the electoral college approach, rather than the popular vote for president, was because those who wrote the rules wanted to ensure that the uneducated masses couldn’t influence the outcome too much. That seems rather undemocratic.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, I think you are right that the electoral college system was established to moderate the results of uninformed voters, but it has never been used in that way. Another reason to the electoral college is to grant some significance of less populated states, who would be ignored by candidates seeking opportunities for larger popular votes in more populated states.

            The democracy established by the founding fathers of the United States was not perfect (note slavery, exclusion of native-Americans, and the absence of women’s voting rights); but remember that it was the first attempt at democracy, and it was far superior to the kingdoms of the day.

            Our democracy has become better and more inclusive, but we still have work to do.

            Like

          • Chas says:

            Tim, I certainly appreciate the difficulties in trying to write a constitution from scratch. It is astonishing that they came up with such a good effort, and inbuilt a degree of safeguard to enable modifications to be made, where this is found to be necessary. In regard to the sidelining of small states, doesn’t this still occur, because candidates focus on states that have large populations, since, if they win, they carry all of its votes, even if 49% of voters voted against them? How can any system other than the popular vote be acceptable for the choice between two candidates for a federal post?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Steve says:

            I think this time around we were presented with two awful candidates. And it really just came down to political strategizing.

            Clinton and Trump based their strategies on the current rules of the game (the Electoral College). Both Trump and Clinton sought to maximize their electoral votes in swing states. Neither sought to maximize their national popular vote totals by running up margins or closing up gaps in states considered locks for themselves or their opponents.

            Under the current rules of the game, the ‘popular vote’ is basically irrelevant, and as observed under the Electoral College system, doesn’t reflect what the ‘popular vote’ would be if it were under a ‘popular vote system’.

            If the rules were such that the ‘popular vote’ is what counted, Clinton and Trump would’ve employed different strategies, and perhaps the out come would’ve been different. But, unfortunately we”ll never know.

            The good thing is that the world didn’t come to an end in the 1st century and it probably won’t in the next 4 years either.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, actually candidates do campaign in very small states. On the other hand, a candidate often ignores a huge state. This is for two reasons: if the state is certain to deliver for one party, that party doesn’t spend time there because it is secure; and the other party doesn’t spend time there because it is futile. The battles are for those states which could go either way. Clinton probably lost by ignoring a few states she thought were secure and were not.

            It is a significant question here in the USA whether the electoral college system should give way to the popular vote, and I have no firm opinion on the question. But actually, it is rare for a candidate to win the electoral college but not the popular vote. Trump did it this year, GW Bush did so a few years ago (with an extremely small margin), and there were two or three others in the distant past.

            By the way, the USA has always had a ‘representative’ democracy rather than a plebiscite.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Well said, Steve! And I agree we had no good choice for president this time around. Either candidate was a ‘hold your nose and vote candidate’. How can that have happened?!

            Like

          • Chas says:

            The UK system is essentially similar, because the ‘first-past-the-post system’ means that parties concentrate on the few ‘marginal’ constituencies, in which a few votes determine the winner, because the party that wins them tends to win overall. The party that wins is therefore decided by only a few tens of thousands of votes from an overall electorate of tens of millions. Is that democratic?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, your description of the UK system is quite interesting. I don’t think there is a ‘pure’ democracy anywhere in the world, but the democracies we have are far superior to systems of coups dictatorships.

            Like

        • LorenHaas says:

          Daughter, you have been lied to about the founding of our nation and I am sorry that you are unable or unwilling to see that. I suggest that you put down your David Barton books and check out his credible critics to get a more realistic view.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t even know who David Barton is….Check your American history again sir. John Smith and the first settelers came here to escape the Church in Rome. The Church pushed a strict law that common man could not read the Bible, only Priest were allowed. John Smith and his congregation wanted the freedom to read the Geneva Bible and to live as this Bible states freely from the Roman Church. They came here for freedom to practice their religion, not freedom from religion. Why don’t you read all the early documents of American history. They all state in one way or another that We are a Nation under God and for God. Sir, I believe maybe you should study a bit more yourself with an open mind unto what is written not what the World wants it to say. May God Bless you and a Merry Christmas.

            Like

          • LorenHaas says:

            Daughter, I have read a bit of history as I have an undergraduate degree in American history.
            Yes, many of the first European settlers in North America came in part to be able to freely practice their religion. But soon it was about creating institutions to make their religion exclusive and in charge. The highly mythologized Puritans are a prime example. They set up a government to persecute those who disagreed with their understanding of Christianity. Hence the Baptist Roger Williams was kicked out. Mary Dyer, mother of five, was hung by the Puritans for “freely” practicing her Quaker faith. Other colonies set up official state religions to which you had to pay taxes and be a member of if you wanted to hold any office. All this was on top of the recent experience of European state sponsored religious wars and persecution. My Anabaptist ancestors suffered great horrors from state sponsored Catholic and Protestant groups only to experience it again from Orthodox christians in Russia.
            This is the background to the founding of our nation. Freedom of religion and freedom from religion were and are critical to our democracy.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Well said, Loren! This is good history.

            Like

          • Steve says:

            Jesus didn’t seem too interested in politics. Our ‘hope’ in this world will not be the result of some certain flavor of government.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Steve, I am glad you brought this up because I think this is EXACTLY the case. Our hope is NOT with any government; besides that, the kingdom of God is always in tension with governments to some extent.

            Like

  14. Steve says:

    Are angels real?

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Steve, this is a good question, but why do you ask? Do you think angels are real? How are angels important to you?

      I don’t think angels, as we imagine them, are real. But I am not interesting in taking away anyone’s comfort, so I rarely say anything about it. However, I am happy to discuss your question further if you wish.

      Like

      • Steve says:

        Angels (like Santa) seem to come out of the woodwork this time of year. Carols, Luke 2, Matt 2… What do you think? Did angels talk to shepherds and Joseph, etc?

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Steve, if there was some sort of messenger who spoke to folks in the infancy narratives (which I doubt), I certainly don’t think it was a winged creature as imagined by many people. Neither do I think there are ‘fallen’ angels that we now call demons.

          Like

          • Steve says:

            Haha, yeah, I don’t recall any ‘angels with wings’ in the NT. I guess they’d evolved by then from flying snakes to man-like. Do you think Jesus said: “a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” because he knew the disciples believed in ‘spirits’ even though Jesus knows there is no such thing? What do you make of Jesus’ many references to angels?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Steve, you could be right about Jesus’ comment about spirits and flesh and bones; I don’t have much of a thought on this passage. In other parts of the gospel references to angels is poetic or midrash. The important thing, though, is to realize that the word ‘angel’ simply means ‘messenger’. We often assume this refers to a specially created order of beings, but a messenger could be of any sort–even human.

            So I do think God has messengers, but I don’t subscribe to the popular mythologies of angels. What do you think?

            Like

          • Steve says:

            I’m thinking something along the lines of since there seem to be no ‘gaps’ between the simplest of organisms up through complex humans, I see no reason why this ‘continuum’ should somehow stop with us leaving just an empty gap between us and the supreme intelligence.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Good point, Steve.

            Like

  15. Chas says:

    The God in whom I believe would not need angels to fulfill His/Her purposes. They are a figment of the imagination of men.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marjorie Weiss says:

      I have known people who say they have seen an angel/spirit at a hospital bedside. Both pastors.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Who can tell? Some people are very suggestive.

        Like

      • Chas says:

        I have also heard about people who claim to have seen ghosts, but there is no evidence for the existence of ghosts either.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Steve says:

          Is there any evidence of ‘the supernatural’?

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            This is a good question–a deep, complex, and multifaceted question. One must even define ‘supernatural’ before even beginning to discuss it.

            So what do you mean by ‘supernatural’?

            Like

          • Steve says:

            ‘Supernatural’ meaning the existence of entities and/or powers outside the natural world.

            Like

          • Chas says:

            Personal experience. However, no doubt the people who claimed to have seen angels or ghosts would make the same reply if asked for evidence.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Steve, I have no idea what might exist beyond our perception. I am not impressed by most claims of supernatural experiences, but I don’t dismiss them entirely. I suspect that there is at least life elsewhere than on earth–but these wouldn’t be considered supernatural.

            I believe that Jesus healed people and that he fed the 5000, but I am not sure these things were supernatural either. Perhaps he was tapping into aspects of physics that we might discover ourselves some day. The one thing I do think was supernatural is the resurrection–and that impacts us tremendously.

            As far as ghosts and spirits are concerned, I am not convinced by people’s stories but don’t have any problem with them either except that they can lead to negative superstitions.

            Like

          • Steve says:

            It seems to be intellectually cheating to hold to a naturalistic philosophy in *most* things but accept the supernatural in a *special* case; i.e. a ‘creator’.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Steve, my not accepting many ‘supernatural’ speculations that some people hold does not mean that I dismiss anything we cannot see and confirm. In my opinion, ‘supernatural’ is often used for things that we just don’t know how to fit into our current understanding of the natural.

            I am not opposed to the supernatural or paranormal, I am simply not very much interested in speculating on such things.

            Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Good point!

          Like

        • Anthony Paul says:

          “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Shakespeare’s Hamlet

          Contrary to mainstream science choosing to ignore facts known and seen by many going back at least to the times of Plato, some modern men of science have indeed determined that there is ample evidence to justify the study of human consciousness and the spiritual realm (ghosts, if you like) — what we call parapsychology. In the late 19th century a man named FWH Myers initiated an empirical study of what has been called “the mind-body problem”. His seminal work in the field is titled Human Personality. His work also found a great deal of support by such other notables as William James and the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Carl Gustave Jung in the early 20th century. Although the main body of science has refused to acknowledge the value of some of this great work, an undeniable body of evidence seems to be growing which seems to indicate that there is a great deal more to the reality of matter and existence (and human consciousness) than just simply that which we perceive with our five senses. Studies in Quantum Physics also seem to suggest that reality and a true state of consciousness are far broader than current science is willing to take us. A great deal of work though ongoing still remains to be done and is in fact being carried out at such institutions as Duke and The University of Virginia by such men as Drs. JB Rhine, Edward F. Kelly and Dr. Bruce Greyson to name just a few.

          Lest we become too arrogant and seek to dismiss this type of study as the work of those operating on a lunatic fringe, let us remember that there was a time when men of science believed that the world was flat and that the Sun revolved around the Earth. It took men of vision and courage like Galileo to move beyond the prejudices of a stodgy scientific community in order to bring new light to bear on the reality of our cosmic existence.

          If anyone is interested in studying some of the work that has been done in the field going back to the days of FWH Meyers and moving ahead to our own contemporary times, I suggest reading Irreducible Mind, Toward A Psychology For The 21st Century, by Edward F. Kelly et. al. published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Anthony, when I was at an evangelical college (early 70s) a friend and I did a lot of study and research in various areas of the paranormal. We concluded that paranormal related issues were not evil, or of the ‘devil’, as our denomination and others tended to think. But that intense period of interest pretty much satisfied my curiosity about paranormal claims.

            For the most part, I have few opinions on the supernatural and allow some speculations might be valid. However, I no longer embrace evangelical beliefs like ‘spiritual warfare’ with demons, which I consider bunk, and I have little regard for near-death reports or, especially, dreams about visiting heaven.

            I do not dismiss legitimate research into the supernatural; it is just that it does not affect my life. If something specific is discovered I would want to know all about it.

            It sounds as though you have some expertise in the literature, and I thank you very much for sharing it for those who are interested in the field of the supernatural. Thanks!

            Like

  16. michaeleeast says:

    Tom, the comparison of Santa to God is a strange unconscious phenomenon.
    Rewards and punishments – Santa won’t give you any presents if your bad.
    This sort of thing is unconscious unless we think about it.
    Thanks for bringing this up.

    Like

  17. Charlotte Robertson says:

    I am sure that there is more between Heaven and Earth than we know. But maybe it is all not yet discovered. Like radio waves would have had people burnt on stakes 3 hundred years ago. About angels, yes, there could be supernatural beings, whyever not? However, I think that the angels we read about in the OT especially, are people doing God’s work on earth, bringing insight, Maybe the angels who sustained Jesus in the wilderness where disciples, who knew where he was?

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Charlotte, I like your thinking! Angels are simply messengers, and they could be anything. Trying to determine detail beyond that is pretty much pure speculation.

      Like

  18. Charlotte Robertson says:

    This morning my brother Jan died. He had fallen in storm Barbara, which is battering the islands, on his way with the dog. Our neighbour found him and raised the alarm. It is in moments like this that I hope Heaven is just what we were told it is when we were children.

    Like

  19. Charlotte Robertson says:

    Thank you Marjorie.x

    Liked by 1 person

  20. luckyotter says:

    Tim, I actually agree with you on this. I never felt comfortable teaching my children the Santa Claus story (that he was real) because well, let’s face it, it’s a lie, and eventually we will have to admit we lied to them. How will they ever trust us again on the important things (like belief in God)? Some kids figure out on their own that Santa isn’t real (like I did), but many others experience devastation and grief when they find out (usually through other kids at school) that it was just a story his or her parents told them. Yes, I did tell my kids there was a Santa Claus but never felt quite right about it, and eventually when they figured out it was just a story, which was a huge relief to me. I can’t believe this isn’t a more discussed topic, because essentially, telling kids Santa is real is all about dishonesty. What’s wrong with just saying that Mom and Dad brought them the presents, maybe with Dad dressed up in a Santa suit to make it more fun?

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Lucky, we never told our son Santa was real; but some parents do participate in the fantasy and at the appropriate time help their children transition by encouraging them to become ‘Santa’ themselves by giving gifts to others who need them. Other parents navigate the transition by reading to them about the real St. Nicholas and his care for others.

      I think these are reasonable, but I believe aggressively pushing the fantasy beyond the appropriate point is potentially extremely harmful. I am always filled with great sadness when I hear a parent say to their child, “Do you believe in Santa now? There he is.” This is outright deception, and it hurts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • luckyotter says:

        It is deception, and not only does it show kids parents can’t be trusted on more important things, it teaches kids that it’s okay to lie. (“well, after all, Mommy and Daddy lied to me about Santa being real”)

        Liked by 1 person

  21. luckyotter says:

    I also agree with you that Santa is used to manipulate children into behaving. I remember how terrified I was that I’d get a bag of coal if I wasn’t “good.” It causes kids a lot of anxiety, something they don’t need when there will be plenty more of that when they get older. It’s also creepy to think that you are being “watched” and judged by this invisible force for your bad or good behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Lucky, I think this is perhaps the most horrid use of Santa of all. Why do we manipulate children with Santa (or God) just to get them to behave as we wish? It is creepy, dishonest, and plants really bad ideas about God in children’s minds.

      Liked by 1 person

      • luckyotter says:

        I agree 100%. I wish parents would stop doing that. if they must tell children about Santa Claus (and I have issues with that too), then make it fun and don’t tell them Santa will punish them and not bring them any gifts if they are “bad.” That’s tantamount to Christians who tell people they are going to Hell if they don’t believe a certain way. It’s abuse.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. lptrey says:

    I couldn’t agree more. My parents have never lied to me, even about Santa or anything else absurd. Please check out my theological posts at th3platform.com

    Liked by 1 person

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